On Target by Laura Rowley

Written in 2003, this book takes a decidedly narrow look at what the retailer Target into such a large and profitable enterprise. While Wal-Mart tends to receive considerably more attention for its relatively short rise to dominance, going from one store to a major American brand in a just a couple of decades, Target . . . → Read More: On Target by Laura Rowley

The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

The central thesis of Cowen’s book is that the recent economic downturn is mostly due to the law of diminishing marginal returns.  The metaphor he uses to explain this is that of an orchard.  In any orchard, some of the hanging fruit is closer to the ground than other fruit.  The natural tendency is . . . → Read More: The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Book Review

Tabarrok focuses on four policy areas in which changes could yield very positive results. He kicks off the short eBook by focusing first on patent reform, noting that many areas of patent coverage (software, technical processes e.g.) have low innovation costs and, as such, are not worthy of patent protection. In fact, his recommended . . . → Read More: Launching The Innovation Renaissance by Alex Tabarrok

Book review: Improvisational economies and a globalized building

Robert Neuwirth is bringing new insights to familiar (for him, unfamiliar for most of us) territory in his book, “Stealth of Nations“. His previous work, “Shadow Cities” was a plea to take squatter cities and informal settlements seriously, rather than dismissing them as slums. (My review of Shadow Cities is here.) His mission . . . → Read More: Book review: Improvisational economies and a globalized building

`The Quest' by Daniel Yergin: A great job but we need more

I recently read Daniel Yergin’s fascinating book The Quest. It’s a panoramic view of the global energy industry. For me personally, many parts were familiar territory. But many parts were new to me, and the overall integration of the story was valuable. I encourage every non-specialist (like me) who is curious about energy to . . . → Read More: `The Quest’ by Daniel Yergin: A great job but we need more

Book Review

Like A Financial Analysis of al-Qaeda in Iraq, this book is rather technical and highly academic in approach. Unsurprisingly, it is a rather boring read for the most part. Furthermore, the book isn’t particularly insightful.

There were some who apparently claimed, presumably around the time this book was written, that capitalism was responsible for . . . → Read More: Book Review: South Africa’s War Against Capitalism by Walter E. Williams

Book Review

Maybe my discipline for reading has been waning in recent weeks, because this is the second consecutive book that I’ve been unable to read in its entirety before quitting.  The problem with The Winner’s Curse is that it is a highly technical way of saying “duh.”  By this I mean that Thaler addresses issues . . . → Read More: Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Richard Thale

Book Review

I give up.

I have tried reading Krugman for several years but I just can’t do it.  I picked up Return of Depression Economics when I was a junior in high school, but I couldn’t finish it.  I use to subscribe to his blog, but I simply found him impossible to read on a . . . → Read More: Book Review: Pop Internationalism by Paul Krugman

Books that should be read before starting a Ph.D. in economics

Suppose a young person is going to start a Ph.D. in economics. What essential readings would you recommend prior to this?

In my opinion, the Ph.D. in economics involves a heavy emphasis on tools. But the story isn’t told, about why we are building these tools. The intuition isn’t built, about the world out . . . → Read More: Books that should be read before starting a Ph.D. in economics

Endgame: The End of the Debt SuperCycle and How It Changes Everything

I won’t hold it against my readers if they find that macroeconomics is complicated and that the course and solution of the financial crisis (let alone the road ahead) seem to constitute a very complex system of processes. Indeed, if this is the case it is obviously because it is and this is precisely . . . → Read More: Endgame: The End of the Debt SuperCycle and How It Changes Everything